Editor's Note: Periscope is no longer available.
Periscope is an app that lets you live-broadcast from your mobile device via Twitter. Broadcasters can select who can view their broadcasts -- only themselves, only their Twitter followers, or the world -- and then can choose to save videos to their camera rolls for later use. During the broadcast, viewers can submit comments or tap the screen to give "hearts" for encouragement. The video stays live on the app for 24 hours to the same people who originally had viewing privileges, and after-the-fact viewers can tap to add more hearts and watch the comments as they happened in real time.
To find a Periscope feed to watch, users can browse videos from people they follow on Twitter and browse a live map of Periscopes happening around the world. Users can then instantly jump onto public Periscopes to view, comment, and add hearts.
There are some serious privacy concerns with Periscope, and you can read more about this from the perspective of parents and kids in the Common Sense Media review. When teachers use the app, though, the potential is huge. Since Periscope's release, teachers have used the tool as a classroom flipper, a presentation tool, a discussion forum, and more. Used thoughtfully and purposefully, there is great potential here: Teachers could use Periscope to give their students access to places they might not otherwise be able to go during the school day, and it could be a great tool for connecting with your students when you can't meet them in person (snow days, anyone?). That real-time commenting feature could make for a great Q&A session with you as a teacher, with another teacher, or with an expert elsewhere offering your a remote lesson or virtual tour. It's been useful to many teachers on Twitter as a professional development tool for sharing best practices and favorite tools or just hosting topical discussions.
As with any tech tool, if you don't have a good plan for use in the classroom, you're not going to have meaningful educational impact. A cool tool like Periscope is only as good in your classroom as the activity you design around it: If the lesson is rich and thoughtfully designed, you'll be in good shape. If not, be cautious about using a potentially iffy and awfully intrusive social media tool without good reason.
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